I grew up on a family farm in southern Pennsylvania, within sight of the Appalachian hills that my ancestors knew and in a community where our small rural church played a central role. This rooting in community and place has grounded me through life’s changes and growth: through vocational changes, theological shifts, and the unfolding stages of life.
My work has ranged from high school English teaching to clinical psychology to spiritual direction, being a guide for others on their spiritual journeys. I lead spiritual formation and contemplative living groups. I also teach about prayer, spiritual discernment and spiritual direction regularly at Oasis Ministries, Pendle Hill Retreat Center, and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Growth in my life often feels like being “stretched”. Discerning my current vocation has stretched me. I grew up in a family with many ministers and, as a child, I wanted to be one, too. But, as an adult, I found my spiritual home among a group with no paid ministry—the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers. I have had to name and claim my own ministry. It is a ministry of presence, of being with others as they open to God and nurturing them along the way. This, in turn, stretches and strengthens my own opening to God.
My family life has stretched me as well, from my husband Larry’s desire for travel and adventure to my recent journey with my mother’s long dying. I have accompanied two daughters into adulthood, and stretched into grandparenthood and becoming ‘Oma’ to four small children.
One of life’s biggest stretches has been saying “yes” to the invitation to write a book on decision making and spiritual discernment. Sharing my understanding through Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way is a call to ministry that I have just begun to live into.